Students to Obama: Take Our Future Seriously, Scrub Keystone Pipeline
More than 400 people arrested at the White House protesting KXL pipeline
Now that it’s coming down to the wire whether the proposed Keystone XL pipeline will be allowed to proceed, students objecting to the cross-border conduit for tar sands crude oil are putting President Obama on notice: if he gives his approval, it will have consequences.
More than a thousand students descended on Washington, DC this weekend as part of a campaign called XL Dissent. They believe that Keystone XL could mean “environmental devastation” for their generation, and they’re demonstrating a willingness to draw a line in the sand when it comes to the issue of climate change.
There are higher risks in transporting the crude from the Alberta tar sands than most forms of oil, and it would pass over water aquifers and through lands belonging to First Nations. Most importantly, critics say that greenhouse gas emissions from this source of dirty energy will be “game over” for the climate.
Gathering at Georgetown University on early Sunday morning, students from more than 80 colleges around the country headed toward the White House. But first, they stopped by the Secretary of State’s house on O Street, where they created a pseudo-oil spill with a black tarp.
The State Department has been in charge of the energy company TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL pipeline. Both its draft and final Environmental Impact Statements have been controversial, with many environmentalists accusing the State Department of hiring contractors with ties to the energy industry, or even with TransCanada itself.
While the students visited his house, Secretary Kerry appeared on “Meet the Press” to discuss Russian military incursion into Crimean territory.
President Obama is the ultimate decision maker on Keystone XL, however, not the Secretary of State. Protestors proceeded to the White House, the President’s home, to deliver a message that he wasn’t taking their future seriously with his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.
Laying out another mock oil spill on Pennsylvania Avenue, hundred of students ignored police warnings that they were “blocking passage” and proceeded to zip-tie their wrists to the fence surrounding the White House.
U.S. Park Police arrested about 450 students, according to Duncan Miesel of 350.org. The arrests and on-site processing took over six hours, and the last protestors were hauled off as late as 6pm.
President Obama says he will announce a decision on Keystone XL within two months. Tar sands are already flowing through the southern portion of the pipeline to Gulf refineries.
80,000 people have taken a “pledge of resistance” to commit civil disobedience if the Keystone XL is approved.
Photo Gallery. Photos by Ted Majdosz, more photos here[nggallery id=”127″]
Video Scenes from XL Dissent:
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Additional Articles on the XL Dissent Protest
Hundreds of Students Arrested Demanding Climate Action, Common Dreams